Posted on Jul 29, 2019
Capt Michael Wilford
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Please understand, I am NOT bagging on the Army here, I am simply asking a question based on my own observations. I served two tours on two different Army posts and witnessed first hand how lower enlisted soldiers (PV1 through SPC) interacted with soldiers of higher rank (CPL through SSG) and I found their lack of respect and lack of discipline to be a bit disturbing. So, my deeper question is this; is this perceived problem of discipline due to the size of the Army as compared to the Marine Corps where we do not have this type of discipline issue, is it due to smaller unit cohesion, or is it something else? I am writing a white paper on military discipline and any information will be helpful. Remember, at the end of the day, we are one military with different missions toward the same end goal, so please do not use this thread as a means to bash other branches of service. I have not done that to the Army; I have great respect for the Army and for its mission and I am simply looking for others' observations about discipline.
Posted in these groups: Discipline1 DisciplineEnlisted_logo EnlistedUcmj UCMJ
Edited 1 y ago
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Responses: 214
1SG John Furr
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The Army has seen a degradation in discipline for some time now, unfortunately it's not limited to lower enlisted. I had E-7's who lacked discipline as well... The problem is the Army has catered to generational changes, instead of making them come up to our standards. I literally had an E4 tell me that just because I was a 1SG, that didn't make me better than him... The Marine Corps is much more disciplined as a branch-- throughout all career fields; that's something I've always respected about the USMC, and a large reason as to why they can do more with less resources.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
29 d
The Marines didn't change their standards when some soldiers complain to the IG.
When I went to Basic's in 83, I was told by the Drill SGT that they could no longer cuss at the women or be as hard on them. So standards eased up.
Why loose rank or position because a soldier who is under them wants revenge or vengeance for punishment or extra PT or Longer hours in the Motor Pool.
They may get caught sleeping under their vehicle or derelict of duty or unkempt uniform or hair not regulation. Anything can set a temper tantrum off

Wish the soldiers could understand the importance of discipline and valor.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
29 d
The good leaders get booted out by framing them or getting them in trouble to where they have to leave with their dignity in check.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
29 d
Love it
More PT SGT more PT We love it we want more of it.
Chant I learned back in 83; 37 years ago.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
11 d
The Army took hits when the females said they were being rude and degrading.
The Drill SGTs had to watch their language and not cuss so much. ( back in the early 80's).
Ccr
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SFC Senior Brigade Career Counselor
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It's more what part of the Army you're in. The Army is really more like several Armies under one banner. I've been in units where a PFC stands at parade rest for a SPC, and while in that unit witnessed another unit where a PFC showed up for a detail without a blouse or hat, and his NCO had to practically beg him to go get his stuff.

Why does this happen and why is the USMC different? Well the USMC is a brand. There's one single brand. The Army is a bunch of brands. The pride of a paratrooper is to the 82nd, or the 173rd, whatever unit they're from, not "The Army". So, units that have a long history of pride and service, tend to have a higher level of discipline.
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SGT Carl Watson
SGT Carl Watson
1 mo
I found too many higher ranking officers and NCO's getting away or being rewarded too many medals for not doing the same thing that the lower soldiers must do even in the 82nd or 101st Airborne units. I met a 1st Sgt. (E-7) who stayed off base in VN when he was suppose to. One day I went downtown early skipping breakfast to get my wallet. He thought on my way back to base that I had stayed downtown as he apparently had. The time after was hell or difficult for me and he got the CO's assistance.
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SSG Jeff Furgerson
SSG Jeff Furgerson
1 mo
Well said SFC Jason Boyd, I served for about 6 years in the 82nd in an infantry company and never seen these types of issues but seen them in other units, I certainly can't imagine seeing this kind of a discipline problem in the 75th Ranger regiment my understanding is they are very highly discipline there.
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SGT Carl Watson
SGT Carl Watson
1 mo
SPC Kelley McMahan - I hope that you are referring to the 1st Calvary who I was informed about a decade ago why the horse on its patch is facing backwards. Personally I feel that the 1st Cal has made up for what it did that one time in the past but I am not really surprised that those that can change things back, have not. Oh and I was in the 3/4 Cal.
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SGT Carl Watson
SGT Carl Watson
1 mo
SSG Jeff Furgerson - I was a Spec. 6 or team leader in an aircraft repair hanger and I was in charge of about four crews which could have three or four mechanics. One day a new soldier was in our hanger and I could tell that he had been reduced in rank from a Staff Sgt. (E-6) to a corporal (E-2) because one could see the strips that were there prior to their removal. I assigned a job to the corporal but he told me that he did not want to work. I could have reported him but I at 20 years old did not report the E-2 who looked about 28 or 29 years old. I after worked asked him what had happened to him and he told me that he had hit his previous CO. After about two weeks of him refusing to work and a new shirt with new corporal strips, he said that he was ready to work. My jaw dropped but I learned that if one is treated humanly that they may come around to act responsibly.
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CSM Director
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Lot of great responses here. If you are writing a white paper you will have to define your terms. Respect and discipline have very different meanings and they tend to differ between junior and senior enlisted ranks and even among officers and branch. Further each can be different in tactical or garrison environment.
Anecdotally, I have interacted with units who "look" undisciplined, but are extremely respectful and tactically proficient and others who walk the walk and salute the salute, but are tactically and technically garbage.
Is it a case of whole units not being disciplined/respectful or individual Soldiers not being disciplined/respectful? If it is a unit issue, you can't really blame the individuals because there is no expectation and accountability for respect and discipline. If it is a Soldier issue, one-off cases, then is could be a leader issue.
Disrespect and poor discipline thrive in environments where there is no accountability, so if we have a discipline and respect issue in the Army, it is simply because we have a leader problem.
I have heard senior leaders complain about discipline issues in their units, but when asked how many company grade ART15s they recommend, I get blank stares and excuses of not wanting to ruin a Soldiers' career. You can only yell at a rock so many times, it is our job as NCOs to enforce the standard, but sometimes it just easier to get stuff done if you cut them some "slack". The downside is slack starts becoming a culture.
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SGT Carl Watson
SGT Carl Watson
1 mo
SFC James Welch - No. Oprah is a human being that suffered and may still suffer with her past. She did not know apparently what to do. Guest would come onto Dr. Phil's show and respond that they have been to some other doctors who just prescribed pills or who quickly diagnosed them or their children not to resolve the condition. Oprah Winfrey too had a lot of followers as a talk show host for an apparently good reason such as in an benefit for females. Most males may not understand or want to understand. 20 veterans and soldiers commit suicide everyday in this country, many of us get mental assistance and more do not. Name another rich famous person who referred a doctor to the public and media to help other Americans?
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
29 d
Oh, how true.
You said it beautifully. Thank U.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
28 d
CW2 Michael Bodnar
Sir,
In the Army we may role the sleeves up but in formation all uniformity.
As for many chiefs, we all follow the command of the Platoon SGT and the 1SGT. We may have many chiefs but we work together. At least when I was enlisted than Even as an Officer we work together or someone may die or fall. The Ward SGT was a guide to the Corpman, LPNs and RNs.
I learned as an Enlisted to listen to your PLT SGT he/she will guide you to being a good LDR.
There are good Leaders and not so good Leaders in all the Armed Forces.
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CPT Carolyn Andrews
CPT Carolyn Andrews
28 d
SFC James Welch
You hit the nail on it's head.
I saw the same thing as Enlisted and Officer.
When we had an alert we had two E-5's that told me the survival rate of Officers to get out of the Motor Pool. It was nice to know who was reliable and who to watch out for.
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